Avocados + Tomatoes

The fats in avocados bring out the lycopene in tomatoes. Lycopene is an antioxidant known as a carotenoid, “which reduces cancer risk and cardiovascular disease,” according to a Men’s Health article based on multiple medical studies about food synergy.

Oatmeal + Orange juice

Vitamin C-rich orange juice and unprocessed oatmeal (the kind that takes several minutes to cook) contain a compound called phenols. The combination consumed together helps stabilize your bad cholesterol, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study.

Broccoli + Tomatoes

A cancer research study in 2007 showed broccoli and tomatoes eaten together shrunk prostate-cancer tumors in rats. John W. Erdman Jr., Ph.D., of the University of Illinois concluded that other than castration, nothing was more effective in shrinking cancer. Why? That’s s a mystery researchers haven’t solved.

Blueberries + Grapes

Blueberries are known for containing powerful antioxidants. The same is true of grapes. While eating a single serving of fruit has health benefits, combining nearly any two fruits triggers a reaction that increases the antioxidants, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Apples + Chocolate

Red delicious apples are high in an anti-inflammatory component called quercetin, particularly the skins, when the fruit is grown organically. Chocolate contains catechin, an antioxidant known to reduce the risks for cancer and atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries. Quercetin and catechin combined can “loosen clumpy blood platelets, improving cardiovascular health and providing anticoagulant activity,” according to a study from the National University of Singapore.

Lemon + Kale

Citrus helps the body absorb plant-based iron that comes from leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and collard, according to a study done by the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. So, when steaming veggies with iron or making a salad or saute, consider adding a few squeezes of lemon or lime.

Almonds + Yogurt

Our bodies absorb essential vitamins better when eaten with fat. A, D and E are considered fat-soluble vitamins. Yogurt is rich in vitamin D, so toss in some almonds for healthy fat and enjoy.

Peanuts + Whole wheat

Skip the recovery shake at the gym and opt for a natural peanut-butter sandwich made on whole wheat instead. Peanuts contain the specific amino acids that are absent in wheat. Combining the two (make sure the peanut butter is natural and not filled with chemicals) provides an entire chain of amino acids (protein), which is the best way to build and maintain muscle.

Red meat + Rosemary

Planning to barbecue red meat? Using rosemary to spice your steak or hamburger can reduce the cancer-causing carcinogens caused by cooking over an open flame at temperatures of 375 degrees to 400 degrees.

Garlic + Fish

Fish contain nutrients (iron, zinc, iodine, copper and selenium) that work together to enhance fish oils’ natural anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-reducing benefits. Garlic helps lower cholesterol. Cooking fish with garlic helps lower total cholesterol better than eating fish or garlic alone.

Eggs + Cantaloupe

The protein benefits that come from an egg are increased when the iconic breakfast food is eaten with good carbohydrates, such as fruit, whole grain and vegetables. “This synergy helps by minimizing insulin and blood-sugar spikes,” according to nutritionist Stacy Kennedy of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. “… By slowing the absorption of glucose, your body can better read the cues that you are full. This helps prevent everything from overeating to indigestion.”

Sources: Men’s Health, National Institute of Health, Dana Farber Cancer Institute

(Illustrations: Greg Cross)

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